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Virtual reality experience sees Watton school pupils leave the classroom for far-flung destinations

PUBLISHED: 12:37 31 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:38 31 March 2017

Year seven pupils from Wayland Academy in Watton, experiencing Google Expeditions where they travelled to places including the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: TEN Group

Year seven pupils from Wayland Academy in Watton, experiencing Google Expeditions where they travelled to places including the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: TEN Group

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The Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef are just some of the world-wide destinations pupils from a Watton school have been able to visit thanks to an immersive virtual reality experience.

Year seven pupils from Wayland Academy in Watton, experiencing Google Expeditions where they travelled to places including the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: TEN Group Year seven pupils from Wayland Academy in Watton, experiencing Google Expeditions where they travelled to places including the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: TEN Group

Year-seven and eight students at Wayland Academy were transported from their classrooms to far-flung places and also back in time using Google Expeditions.

Geography teacher Tim Read said the virtual reality trips help to improve the pupils’ awareness and brought the history and geography curriculum to life.

Mr Read said: “It’s been a chance for our students to use new this technology and deepen their awareness about units they have been studying in history and geography.

“Understanding key moments in history, like the First World War and about what our great-grandfathers went through to preserve the freedom we enjoy, that’s a really important life skill.

Year seven pupils from Wayland Academy in Watton, experiencing Google Expeditions where they travelled to places including the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: TEN Group Year seven pupils from Wayland Academy in Watton, experiencing Google Expeditions where they travelled to places including the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: TEN Group

“Similarly, seeing the different parts of our planet in this way, and the rich diversity of habitats, encourages students to ask: ‘Don’t we want to preserve that?’”

The simple yet effective teaching aid only requires the teacher to have a tablet, while the students get a phone and cardboard viewer.

The teacher can select a destination - the First World War trenches, Mars or a tour of Buckingham Palace - and the entire classroom jumps there automatically.

Pupil Alfie Thurston, 12, and who is in year-seven, said: “It’s been really good. We’ve been learning about the history of the First World War and also all of the different biomes in geography.

“It’s phenomenal that technology has come so far to become that realistic. My favourite part was how realistic it was - it’s really cool.”

Anna-May Bell, who is also 12, added: “We have used the headsets and we’ve learned about all the trees in the rainforest. We looked all around the world at all the fish and all the corals in the sea.

“My favourite part has been looking around the sea. The most interesting part was learning about all the different animals that live in the coral. I would definitely do it again.”

The impact of Google Expeditions has already been seen across the United States and the content is being tailored to suit the UK curriculum.

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